Prince’s Hot Chicken was opened in 1945 and has been serving the hottest Nashville Hot Chicken since. The Black-owned restaurant was so revered that during the days of segregation, white customers used a secret back door and dining area just to eat Prince’s fried chicken.
After making GQ’s list of best meals in the U.S. in 2001, Gus’ Fried Chicken became a hit with everyone, including celebs like Norah Jones, who tried recreating the spicy treat at home. While Gus’ has over 34 locations across the country, the best is still the original in Tennessee.
James Beard-nominated chef Elliot Moss’ restaurant, Buxton Hall Barbecue, is renowned for offering Moss’ signature fried chicken. The fried chicken sandwich, which has been named the best in the country by Bon Appétit, is best paired with one of their bourbon and Cheerwine slushies.
Mama’s Dip Kitchen, started by Mildred “Mama Dip” Council in 1976 with just $64, is practically an institution of traditional Southern food today. Although Mama Dip passed in 2018, her legendary skillet fried chicken is still being shared by three generations of her family.
Chicken at gas stations is a common sight in the South, and it is often better than the chicken at any top restaurant chain nearby. Gizzards & Livers is an iconic shop that specializes in whole fried chicken, including a gingham paper boat full of its namesake.